Tagged: Funeral Products
I am in my late 30s and two weeks ago lost my dear father. He did not have any wishes for his funeral so it has fallen on me to decide things.
I have opted for a traditional burial in a cemetery, no embalming (too disturbing a process).
I would also like a coffin or casket that best preserves his body in the coming years – I know some find it strange, but it is important to me.
I have read good and bad things about caskets with an airtight seal. Also there is a zinc-lined coffin, however I understand they might be more for transportation than long-term preservation.
FYI the cemetery buries the casket/coffin straight into the soil, six feet under (no concrete vault or lining).
Can you anyone give me some advice?
I am so sorry about the loss of your father and I totally understand your feelings about wanting to find a casket for him that will bring you peace of mind.
Unfortunately, there is no casket that can guarantee preservation of the body for extended length of time. Decomposition is simply a natural process that the body goes through, even when embalmed or entombed in a crypt above ground.
You are correct in that zinc-lined containers are designed for repatriation (long distance travel) as they can be hermetically sealed, but they are not intended to prevent decomposition for an extended length of time. The same is true of sealer caskets – it sounds like a good idea but the seal will break down quickly in the ground, especially when not enclosed in a burial vault.
Thank you for the kind reply Jennifer, much appreciated.
It is difficult for me as the cemetery in question does not offer burial vaults. I know we can’t stop decomposition, I just would want to delay it as best as practically possible.
Any thoughts on which casket or coffin might help with this, even though I know none can guarantee this or offer it forever, is much appreciated.
You might want to research solid wood caskets. However, embalming would have helped to slow the decomposition process but it also greatly depends on the climate (dry, wet, humid, etc) soil conditions, and depth of burial.
In essence, there are a lot of factors that affect decomposition and the burial container (casket) is just one of the factors. Please do feel free to discuss your concerns with the funeral director, and I am sure if they understand what is important to you and why, then they will help you make the best choice for your peace of mind.
I am going to get a nice metal casket. Given it is a burial in the ground (i.e. in soil, with no concrete vault/lining offered by the cemetery), is sealed or unsealed for the casket preferable?
Thank you again
That decision is up to you – since you have researched this, you likely are aware that the functional purpose of the rubber gasket on a sealer casket is intended to prevent outside elements from getting inside the casket a little bit longer than a non-sealed casket. However, sealed caskets cost significantly more than a non-sealed casket, so that may be a consideration.
Also, since there will be no burial vault and the casket will be buried directly into the ground (keeping in mind the other environmental factors affecting decomposition), I don’t know that you can rely on the intended purpose of the seal. There is also a lot of controversy regarding the validity of the seal.
Honestly, the very best way to have peace of mind is to be well informed for the decision you are making. I would suggest that you do a google search of something like “sealed vs unsealed caskets” and review several of the articles that appear in the results. That may help you come to a decision.
Thank you very much for your help Jennifer, much appreciated
Just to update you, the burial is in fact now planned for an above ground mausoleum as I decided I was uncomfortable with burial straight into the soil.
Given that, I am torn between a wooden coffin (possibly zinc-lined), or a metal casket. From what I have read the “sealed” caskets are not as effective as protecting the body as claimed.
Now that the nature of the burial has changed I am struggling to make the decision, and the funeral director does not know much on the topic of coffin/casket preservation. Might you be able to help?
Many thanks as always.
The only thing I can confidently say is to not use a sealed casket in a mausoleum crypt.
Actually, the cemetery must maintain the mausoleum so they may have some guidelines on the kind of casket that is best for that structure, so I would recommend that you talk with them about this before making your final decision.
Thanks very much for this Jennifer.
I did speak to the cemetery and they are insisting that be it a zinc lined wood coffin, or metal casket – it must be sealed. I have read advice otherwise so I am not sure why they are insisting on this but there is nothing I can do really. I am wondering if zinc lined wooden is better than, as will be less likely to be a proper seal.
Perhaps the cemetery was referring to the crypt being sealed – as the crypt itself is sealed after the casket is placed inside. Otherwise, I am not aware of a requirement for a sealed casket going into a crypt.
As for a zinc lined casket – if you can locate one to purchase, then you can certainly consider that as your final decision.
We aren’t able to give specific recommendations for products, but we do try to help you learn so you can make the best decision for your needs and I cannot think of anything else to offer in that regard. I know you have been really trying to find peace with your decision, so I do hope you are able to achieve that.
Thanks for everything Jennifer. Appreciate your support